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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

134       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

conceptions are mere words (merte voces), and have no correspond-
ing reality: it is the individual facts which are the realities.   In
these rather crude philosophical views the old contentions of the
Greek philosophers came to life again, but there was a new
vehemence in the controversy because of the theological doctrines
with which they were now associated.   In point of fact both were
susceptible of deductions, contrary to the common opinions of the
Church.   Realism made it doubtful whether individuality was of
any account, and so put in question the immortality of the soul
and even the existence of God as an individual   Developed
logically, it led to a thorough-going pantheism in which everything
became merged in the whole of being.   Nominalism was no less
heterodox in its implications.   If there was nothing apart from the
separate entities perceived by the senses, no universals including
particulars, the idea of the Trinity as a trinity in unity was
untenable : there would not be one God, but three.  On the same
line of thought, transubstantiation was an absurdity : the sacra-
mental bread could never be anything but bread.   But when
realism and nominalism took sides in the controversy between
Anselm (rf, 1109) and Roscellinus (d. 1106), with which the great
debate of the Middle Ages began, realism, represented by the
former, appeared as the philosophy of the established order,
nominalism, represented by the latter, as the philosophy of doubt
and criticism; and these, it may be said broadly, were the parts
played by the two points of view in succeeding centuries.   Those
who started like Anselm with the firm conviction that reason was
subordinate to authority, and that a sure belief must precede any
theory of belief, found in realism an intellectual groundwork for
their position without being troubled by its sceptical possibilities.
Nominalism, on the contrary, was a philosophy that provoked
doubt even in those who professed (as most scholars did) to be
loyal to the Church.

From the discussion of the various questions raised by these
competing philosophies came the impulse to learning from which
the universities of Northern Europe had their origin. It was not
merely the fact that profound questions had been raised that led
to this result. Much the same questions had arisen in the time of
John Scotus without any such effect. The difference was that in
the interval considerable progress had been made in general
education. Not only had the cathedral schools grown in efficiency,